Ahead of the Rugby World Cup Sevens hosted at AT&T Park from July 20-22, the San Francisco Giants are hosting a Rugby Night on May 14th, welcoming teams, clubs and rugby enthusiasts from across the Bay Area for an evening of celebration, giveaways, and meet and greets with some of Rugby’s biggest names.
While the Giants-branded rugby ball and the chance to meet one’s favorite player are key drivers to fans interest in the night, the most unique part of the activation will take place outside of the stadium.
Rugby in the Cove will feature teams of all levels from across the Bay Area having the chance to play games on a barge set in the middle of McCovey Cove.
“Rugby in McCovey Cove is simply meant to be a fun celebration of rugby, bringing together youth, adults, men, and women from a variety of Clubs in the Bay Area to play touch rugby in an incredibly unique and iconic venue,” said Stephen Revetria, Senior Vice President of Giants Enterprises. “AT&T Park is one of the few ballparks in America that is situated along the water, so we are taking full advantage of our unique setting and creating a once-in-a-lifetime event. Giants Enterprises loves to offer unique experiences, and this is certainly one of them. As tenants of the Port of San Francisco, it wasn’t too hard to find a barge owner who’s also a huge Giants fan to lend us a barge for the field!”
Supporting the activation going on in the stadium and on the barge, the Giant’s social and digital team will be working to create and distribute content both during and after the event.
“The night itself is being promoted out on our social channels and we are also making sure we are working with other Rugby related channels to get the content out through them,” said Michelle Gong, Rugby Project Coordinator, San Francisco Giants. “We will have a camera crew capturing the matches so that we have some material to work with post-event and use it as we lead up to the tournament.”
Rugby Night is just one of the many special event nights the Giants host every year at AT&T Park. Thanks to their location, and the cultural diversity of the city of San Francisco, the Giants are able to put on event nights that many other teams cannot.
“Rugby Night is an extension of our incredibly popular San Francisco Giants’ Special Event Nights,” added Revetria. “We have a jam-packed calendar of Special Events every year from our Cultural Heritage Nights, Star Wars Night, and Hello Kitty Night, to name just a few.”
Although Rugby Night this year was put together in order to draw attention to the Rugby World Cup Sevens coming to the park in July, Revetria and his team see the potential of something like this becoming a mainstay as part of their special event nights.
“While it certainly made sense this year to add Rugby Night because we’re hosting a global rugby tournament this year – Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 – we anticipate this being a yearly night on our calendar due to the longstanding rugby culture of the Bay Area as well as the excitement we’ve seen with Rugby Night already this year.”
This year, they have already sold out the night, expecting more than 500 rugby enthusiasts on hand. To cater to them, the Giants have put together a pre-game reception and a giveaway.
“We have a special pre-game reception in Seals Plaza setup before the game for fans to come and enjoy themselves and pick up their special event item giveaway – a Giants-branded, full-size rugby ball,” said Revetria.
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As for the tournament in July, AT&T Park will see itself turned into a rugby paradise.
“The Rugby field come tournament weekend will be laid similar to how we have done football games with one end in left field and the other end along the first base line,” said Gong. “Right field and center field will be two warm-up fields.”
If you are in need of a fresh idea or two when it comes to special event nights, taking notes on what the Giants are doing might be a good first step.